Rasmussen welcomes Moscow's START ratification
The ratification of the New START arms-control treaty by both houses of the Russian parliament is "good news for international security," NATO's secretary general said Wednesday, DPA reported.
The treaty is the most ambitious arms-control package ever agreed between Russia and the United States, and has been presented as a key foreign-policy triumph by both countries' presidents.
"I warmly welcome the ratification by the Russian parliament of the new START Treaty ... The entry into force of this important treaty is good news for international security and stability," Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a statement.
The United States ratified the treaty during a lame-duck session in December after a heavy political push by President Barack Obama.
Rasmussen has invested much of his political capital in improving NATO's ties with Russia, spearheading an initiative to start talks on the possibility of linking the two sides' missile-defence systems.
New START ratification "will make an important contribution to strengthening transparency, predictability and cooperation. I also hope that the political momentum generated by this treaty will help Allies and Russia to make concrete progress in their strategic partnership, including in the field of missile defence," he said.
Earlier US plans to site parts of an anti-missile system in Europe ran into furious Russian opposition and warnings of a new arms race. That opposition appears to have been at least temporarily defused.
However, the Russian parliament attached to its ratification a non-binding resolution saying that Russia need only stick to the treaty as long as its security is not threatened by other US moves.
A number of top Russian officials have warned that the US-NATO missile defence plans could damage Russia's nuclear deterrent, indicating that the controversy is not yet entirely over.